Saturday at Glastonbury: Self Esteem, AJ Tracey, Yves Tumor and Greta Thunberg – live!

Here’s what Trisha would do to celebrate Paul McCartney’s birthday with him at the festival site:

Trisha at Glastonbury 2022
Trisha at Glastonbury 2022. Photograph: Laura Snapes/The Guardian

“I’d do two things: go to the Park stage, it’s my favourite, and I’d take him for a camping experience at John Peel. I’ve been camping there since 1979, when I was 16. Who camps there? Usually people who love music, party, and get friendly with each other – there’s a sense of trust with your neighbours. We actually used to camp so close you’d open your tents and your feet would be in the John Peel tent itself! It’s my 16th or 17th Glastonbury, I think. I’m short, so I dress like this here so people can find me!”

The Supreme Court v Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen

Laura Snapes tells me that Lily Allen has just come on-stage with Olivia Rodrigo, sticking it to the Supreme Court Justices with a duet of Allen’s mega-hit Fuck You.

“This is actually my first Glastonbury and I’m sharing this stage with Lily, this is the biggest dream come true ever,” said Rodrigo. “But I’m also equally as heartbroken about what happened in America yesterday … So many girls and women are going to die because of this. I want to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who don’t give a shit about freedom. Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh: we hate you! We hate you.”

Haim reviewed

Shaad D’Souza

Haim performs on the Pyramid stage
Energy levels turned up to 11 … Haim perform on the Pyramid stage. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Pyramid Stage, 17.45

As a result of Greta Thunberg’s inspiring drop-in on the Pyramid stage this afternoon, sisterly Los Angeles trio Haim have to push their set back by 15 minutes, and as a result only play for 45 minutes of their allocated hour. Still, they absolutely make it count, bounding on stage in matching black bikini tops to the driving thrum of their 2019 single Now I’m In It. Rhythmic and racing, it’s a perfect way for the sisters – Danielle, Este and Alana, who trade vocal and instrumental duties throughout – to start their their fourth Glastonbury set in the past decade.

It’s easy to see why Haim have so quickly become Glasto mainstays. They’re cheeky and endearing on stage, cracking jokes with each other as they deftly run through songs from their three albums (the most recent being 2020’s Women in Music Part III). They’re visibly stoked to be returning to the festival: “I cannot believe we are here,” Alana yells at one point. “Last year we were lucky enough to do the livestream, and it was fun. But this is a lot fucking better!”

The band’s older material shines in this environment. Forever and The Wire, early radio hits featured on the band’s 2013 debut album, are clearly crowd favourites, and their booming, rhythmic backbones translate well when broadcast to a gargantuan field. The Women in Music Part III material is more hit and miss, though. 3am, sung entirely by Este (as opposed to Danielle, who sings on the album), is an early-set highlight that sees her running into the crowd and comically attempting to pick up festivalgoers. Gasoline, on the other hand, loses all its dazed, windswept beauty when played to this crowd, the warmth and nuance of the song totally obliterated by the (understandable) need to play to the cheap seats.

Although Haim’s energy level is rarely at anything less than eleven, there’s this particular set isn’t quite as punchy or triumphant as it probably should be. Danielle’s voice, likely worn down by a long touring schedule, sounds hoarse at times, and struggles to hit higher notes in songs like Don’t Save Me. And diehards in the audience will notice the absence of the dance breaks that have become a mainstay of the band’s latest tour – a potential casualty of the 15-minute reduction in set time. Nevertheless, there are still awe-inspiring pleasures to be found in Haim’s set. Even at the worst of times, these sisters are some of the most talented musicians currently working in indie rock. Watching the band absolutely tear through The Steps – one of the best rock songs released in the past few years, to my ears – and seeing Danielle switch from drums to guitar mid-song, is nothing short of a magic trick.

Tara Joshi

I just met Guillermo, AKA “the Beardy Juggler”, a performer walking around the site asking people to put spaghetti in his beard because, as he puts it: “Why not?” I cannot argue with this logic.

We’ve all got to entertain ourselves somehow before the evening acts come on... Guillermo, aka “the Beardy Juggler”
We’ve all got to entertain ourselves somehow before the evening acts come on … Guillermo, AKA “the Beardy Juggler”. Photograph: Tara Joshi/The Guardian

Glass Animals reviewed

Gwilym Mumford

Gwilym Mumford

This is supposed to be something of a victory lap for Glass Animals, topping off a mind-bogglingly successful year to date: their inescapable (believe me, I’ve tried) track Heat Waves climbed to the top of pretty much every chart going, including the Billboard Hot 100, a record-breaking 59 weeks after its debut. They hoovered up a clutch of Grammys and have a legitimate claim to being the biggest British band in the world right now.

It’s strange, then, that the crowd on the Other Stage is so spotty and disengaged, nowhere near as busy as you might expect for a band of their size. On the fringes people are barely paying attention, nattering away or consulting phones for their next move on this long, lazy Saturday. Was the lure of Greta Thunberg too great? Did everyone opt for the platinum-toothed charms of Tony Christie on the Avalon stage instead?

Then again, perhaps it’s more of a surprise that Glass Animals could be considered massive in the first place. They split audiences right down the middle: either you’re invigorated by their relentlessly sugary dance-pop or you regard it as akin to being waterboarded with Sunny Delight. (Heat Waves is a bit of an outlier in this regard. Less laden with E-numbers than the rest of their output, it’s inoffensive enough to appeal to just about anyone.)

Regardless of which camp you’re in, it’s hard not to at least credit them for their ability to remain endlessly Pollyannaish in the face of hardship. Here, as well as an apathetic crowd, they have to contend with some technical horrors: right from the off, as they are about to launch into Life Itself, their sound packs in. They simply exit the stage for a few minutes, pop back on, and vocalist Dave Bayley repeats his cheery intro, word for word. Nothing will deter them from delivering their starchy white-boy funk to the slightly disinterested masses.

But then right at the end they launch into those spindly opening chords to Heat Waves and everything turns in an instant. The same apathetic punters are suddenly on their feet, swaying along, revelling in that drowsy, tipsy chorus. Maybe Glass Animals are destined to be one of those festival bands that drag reluctant audiences along for 45 minutes with the promise of an arms-aloft banger at the very end. To be fair, there are worse fates.

Here’s a thing that I entirely fail to understand: why are so many people FaceTiming friends and family from the Glastonbury crowds, mid-set? To be fair, the last time I was here was pre-5G, so this is perhaps not a new phenomenon, but I keep seeing the tiny bemused/enraptured faces of random family members peering out from glowing rectangles held aloft to the stages. Surely nobody on either end of that conversation can actually see or hear anything that’s going on? My colleague Shaad enlightens me: “it’s just kind of a vibe”.

Nilüfer Yanya reviewed

Tara Joshi

William’s Green, 5.30pm
A growl of guitar announces the beginning of Londoner Nilüfer Yanya’s set – though there are then several false starts as she and her band work out some sound issues. Still, it’s not long until we’re into the billowing alt-rock she does so well (replete with smooth flourishes of sax that occasionally feel amusingly over-atmospheric, especially in combination with the relentless smoke machine). Yanya is dressed in a gorgeous scrappy emerald green dress that makes her look like a rockstar Tinkerbell, something her liquid, woozy vocals embody too.

Nilüfer Yanyaat at Wlliam’s Green
Rockstar Tinkerbell … Nilüfer Yanya at at William’s Green. Photograph: Tara Joshi/The Guardian

There’s not much in the way of crowd interaction, but it kind of works given the immersive nature of those scuzzy guitars. She smiles to herself as she plays a set that includes Belong With You, a number that I’m pretty sure is a cover of PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me, and finishes on a stomping, soaring version of my personal favourite, Crash. It’s a short but sweet performance that culminates in the crowd chanting for another song, but she just smiles and waves her goodbye.

Glastonbury is in absolutely no way a cheap festival – on top of the £285 ticket price, pints cost £6 minimum, most food will set you back £10 (making each meal an anxiety-inducing gamble – nobody wants to waste their precious food budget on a substandard burrito), and you could easily bankrupt yourself temporarily on silly hats, or permanently on a tipi or other glamping setup. Everyone here bought their tickets years ago, before the cost-of-living crisis escalated – and some are feeling the pinch while others would rather forget about it while they’re here, the Observer reports.

There are ways to do Glastonbury on a budget. Since 2015, the festival has run “food for a fiver”, where traders sell smoothies, tea and cakes and even a mini Sunday roast for £5. Three-quarters of the site’s 400 food stalls take part in the scheme.

“It is noticeably more expensive than it has been in previous years,” said Victoria McBride, sipping a coffee in the sun outside the political Left Field stage.

“We look out for the food-for-a-fiver stickers. The portions are often not as big as the more expensive options, but I suppose it means we can try more!”

You can tell a lot about an artist and what’s on their mind right now from their song dedications: Self Esteem dedicated one to legendary gig-goer Big Jeff earlier, and to “our sisters in America” in the wake of Roe v Wade’s overturning. Phoebe Bridgers dedicated one to her boyfriend Paul Mescal. I’ve got a lot of time for Skunk Anansie’s frontwoman Skin, though, who earlier dedicated My Ugly Boy to “absolutely nobody. None of you motherfuckers!”

Keza MacDonald

Keza MacDonald

Good afternoon, campers – this is Keza back again for the early evening, as the sun warms our backs and festivalgoers get warmed up before tonight’s headline acts. Can we take a moment to appreciate whoever decided to put Paul McCartney and Megan Thee Stallion opposite each other on the bill tonight? I will be FASCINATED to see what those two audiences look like later. I will be choosing Macca, personally, once I’ve hoofed it back from the Park Stage after seeing alt-pop genius Mitski.

Here’s what’s going on at the moment: Haim are just finishing up on the Pyramid Stage, and endearing popstar Olivia Rodrigo will soon be gracing the Other. Meanwhile, indie guitar hero Adrienne Lenker’s band Big Thief are currently playing up at the Park Stage.

Danielle Haim of HAIM performs on the Pyramid Stage
Danielle Haim of HAIM performs on the Pyramid Stage Photograph: Matthew Baker/Redferns

Self Esteem reviewed

Elle Hunt

Elle Hunt

John Peel stage, 3.15pm
Rebecca Lucy Taylor, AKA Self Esteem, arrives on the John Peel stage heralded by heavy bass and percussion, and the mission statement of her 2021 album, Prioritise Pleasure projected on the screen behind her: “There is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman that appears completely deranged.” She herself is poised and imperial in a silver-threaded cape and a sheer black shirt, open to reveal a glittering bustier: its design inspired by the roof of her local shopping centre in Sheffield. But as we quickly clock from her cheeky over-the-shoulder grin as she sheds her cape to face us bra-first, this is no untouchable queen to rule over us from on high: Taylor stands alongside us in the trenches, keeping up morale and sharing her hard-won wisdom.

Self Esteem on the John Peel stage.
Just enjoying the moment … Self Esteem on the John Peel stage. Photograph: Justin Ng/Avalon

By the end of her defiant, triumphant curtain-raiser I’m Fine, Taylor has the crowd barking like dogs, hungry for her brand of idiosyncratic pop that manages to be at once funny and profound, conversational and operatic, energetic and serene. She concludes Fucking Wizardry in an angelic assembly with her trio of backing singer-dancers, their hands held in prayer and their faces sombre. But then the winking holier-than-thou facade drops to reveal the down-to-earth Yorkshire lass the audience knows and clearly loves, with “Prioritise Pleasure” reflected back at her on the crowd’s T-shirts and flags: “I feel like Robbie Williams!” she tells them.

Taylor’s certainly not short of swagger but it is of the essentially feminine kind, with a sisterly dynamic on stage (bar Taylor’s “token male” on drums) elevating her dancers from more than mere backup to real, nourishing support. She concludes the title track being cradled in their arms, singing “I thought that you would be kind to me.” It’s one of many beautiful moments in a set that celebrates female friendship, wisdom and power in earnest, without being cloying or trite.

In among the hackneyed therapy speak of pop stars beseeching us to love ourselves there is something genuinely, quietly empowering about Taylor’s sanguine shrug in The 345 which, in the shadow of Roe repealed, she dedicates to “our sisters in America, fucking hell”: “The thing is, you just gotta keep going, I suppose.”

More than girl power, Taylor’s approach to feminism is one that centres and celebrates community and inclusiveness. She dedicates a song to Big Jeff, a titan of the Bristol indie scene currently in hospital: “I want to see you back out in the crowd soon.” This one is by no means a melon party, or whatever one might call the female version of sausage-fest, and her life lessons are something that everyone can benefit from.

As my colleague Laura Snapes observes, drawing a comparison with Jessie Ware (who similarly set her stage alight at the recent Primavera festival in Barcelona and headlines the Park stage tonight), Taylor makes a compelling case for a moratorium on all pop stars until they are into their 30s, when they have experiences to draw from and something to say that isn’t about the punishments of celebrity (as is the case with stars too young to have known anything else). Taylor’s lyrics are raw and sometimes confronting on the page, but you can see in her face how heartfelt they are.

“Never have I just enjoyed the moment,” she sings in Prioritise Pleasure, her expression sombre, full of the sadness of that realisation. But as she launches into the triumphant chorus of “I’m free”, doing high kicks with the biggest grin on her face, you believe she is enjoying this one. In fact, as she takes in the thunderous applause, she misses her cue for her next song. She restarts, apologetically: “I was taking it in, guys. That’s what Robyn would do!”

By the end of Taylor’s set, her crowd extends beyond the tent and is shedding many happy tears, echoing back her manifesto in I Do This All the Time: “Don’t be embarrassed that all you’ve had is fun.” This is more than fun; this is euphoria.

Tara Joshi

Down in Shangri-La, London Trans Pride are taking over the Nomad stage with the Chateau. During the day that means workshops such as banner and sign-making for the forthcoming London Trans Pride march (on 9 July), making DIY packers and breastformers (gender-affirming items that are often prohibitively expensive to buy), and inviting people to make collages of their gender expression. Against a backdrop of rampant transphobia in the UK, it all feels very nourishing.

London Trans Pride at Glastonbury.
London Trans Pride at Glastonbury. Photograph: Tara Joshi/The Guardian

Speaking to a few of the committee members from London Trans Pride (who didn’t wish to be named individually), they talk about the importance of trans visibility and advocacy for trans youth, notably in a country often referred to as “terf island” (not least after the recent decision to ban gay conversion therapy, but not trans conversion therapy). As they say, trans rights are human rights.

Statistically, one of them adds, most people don’t know a trans person, and media depictions aren’t always accurate – so having this space in the daytime is a good way for people to have conversations, and build solidarity and community outside of nightlife. But rest assured there will be some dancing too, with DJ sets from the likes of Shivum Sharma later on. Catch you down there!

AJ Tracey reviewed

Tara Joshi

Pyramid stage, 4pm

AJ Tracey on the Pyramid stage.
AJ Tracey on the Pyramid stage. Photograph: Matthew Baker/Redferns

I missed the first half of this trekking across the site – but even from afar the West London rapper’s easy command of the stage is apparent. Strutting around in his sunglasses, he looks nonchalant surveying the absolutely massive crowd – and with the live band behind him replete with roaring guitars, it honestly feels more like a rock show. Although it’s a gig weighted (towards the end at least) with tracks from his most recent album, Flu Game, he does treat us to a rare performance of Thiago Silva, his infamous duet with Dave (though mercifully he does not attempt another “Alex from Glasto” moment). He brings out rap’s prince of the north, a grinning Aitch, so they can do a joyful rendition of Rain (before Aitch gets booed for trying to shout out Manchester United). Then AJ finishes, of course, by asking people to say where he’s from – the chants of Ladbroke Grove lead us into the euphoric final track of the same name.


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